Grainline Maritime Shorts #2

This time I decided to use Jen’s fly front zipper tutorial. When I’m working to a deadline, learning new techniques are harder. I don’t absorb anything. This time I wasn’t working to a deadline and I decided to follow Jen’s instructions and learn a new technique. New year = new technique.

Jen’s fly front zipper method results in a dead straight result from top to bottom. I like it. I’ll use Jen’s technique again. The tutorial on Jen’s website is the same as the instructions in the pattern. The difference is the online tute has real photos of the fabric pieces instead of the illustrations used in the pattern. This was what made me more confident that I was following her instructions correctly. Check twice then sew helps me a lot:)

While I was working on this black pair, I had the rare opportunity to attend a Coverstitch workshop run by Michelle from Babylock Australia. Let me tell you, once I got home I just couldn’t wait to try using what I’d learnt at this workshop on something. Anything. These shorts were it! So this black pair has 2 needle coverstitching on the back pockets, the front pockets, the belt loops and on the fly front.

I’ve used left over fabric from the play suit for the pockets.

Then I used the 3 thread finish for the hem. I could have used the down feller for the hem but the excitement to sew these up took over. 

I bought my Coverstitch attachments from Sharp Sewing Supplies. I now know how to use the attachment. Sharp Sewing Supplies had all the attachments I needed for my Coverstitch machine and their service was fast and friendly.

These shorts were a great practice for attaching rivets on the pockets and working with a jeans button. They were made in the sewing room and in the garage. DH is used to my working in the garage from time to time.

Black goes with anything.

Can you tell I’m gearing up to make jeans or cargo pants? I have the hardware to make either.

Beatrice: technical features

Working with lace is rewarding. This lace pattern has some texture and doesn’t fray so it’s a breeze to easy with. And puckers don’t show and move lace pieces around and there’s no risk of it showing.
This shows the top section of Beatrice.

Laura’s instructions are clear and the lapped zipper closure was a new technique that I learnt making Fifth Avenue and is also a feature on Beatrice. 

The back pleat with a lovely lace back. I added this at the hemming stage.

 Below is a close up of the neckline ‘notch’ detailing. They’re sharp.

The bodice length is the same as the pattern but I’ve adjusted the darts to sit closer together.
The skirt hem has the scalloped edge of the fabric. I’ve used a fine cotton for the body of the dress. 

While this is a pale off-white yellow colour, I’ve used a honey colour trim at the waistline.

The pockets are kangaroo pockets.
The kangaroo pocket are deep so I’ve cut them back by 2″. I do that with all pockets.
I’ll do the in real life photos this week but I got excited to have finished Beatrice today and just had to show you.

The beauty of Beatrice

Beatrice was Laura’s Sew Chic dresses that I really wanted to make. That was before Fifth Avenue was released. So I’m very lucky Laura was generous to send me both dresses to make. Thank you Laura.

Beatrice is a stylish fitted dress with a lace overlay.

If you’ve used Sew Chic patterns before, you might find the paper used is wonderful. It’s so crisp and white. And the sound it makes me want to just get stuck into making her dresses.

The neckline is a bit different. The pattern has neckline facings but I love a fully lined dress and that’s what I did.

I originally thought this fabric would work and decided to buy some lace too so I could have a lace version and a brocade version.

Above is my test version of the bodice using cotton stretch woven print, just to be less predictable and add a bit of fun to the testing stage.

Roll shoulder adjustment to the bodice pieces and the sleeve head.
I’ve raised the bodice up so that it sits at my waistline.

The peplum isn’t part of the pattern. It’s a piece I thought would balance well with the fit of the skirt and top. I’ve used the waistline trim from the Beatrice pattern.

Now I’m happy with the bodice fit. The side seam zipper instructions are Ace!

Now to make the lace or brocade version.
PS: You do know that I’m testing Beatrice for nix?
PPS: Laura is about to be a Craftsy presenter. Have a look at her latest blog post.

Copy Cat Challenge 2

Erin (I heart fabric) and Ping (Peneloping) are running Copy Cat Challenge 2. The prize pool is worth it for any sewer.

I took Megan’s (Meggipeg) suggestion for my ribbon skirts (using Sew Chic Fifth Avenue Skirt pattern as a basis) and entered this fun challenge and I’m still working on my study assessments.
I’m the one in the middle and on the right:)
To be honest, I’m just having a cuppa at the moment to calm down and then get back into the books.

If you’re sewing something RTW influenced to suit your life and body type, why not get involved and showcase your skills?

Pretty sewing

Who doesn’t love a challenge to make such a pretty ribbon skirt in colours to suit you?

Here’s the original skirt that inspired me. Here’s the original Julie Starr Ribbon Skirt that appeared on Pattern Review. The J McLaughlin ribbon skirts that inspired these skirts is now on sale for $70 but was over $200 when it was brought out.

The original ribbon skirt has a narrow waistband, a hidden side zipper, is fully lined, hits above the knee and is a pencil skirt fit.

My skirt is a size 10 using ths skirt from Sew Chic Fifth Avenue. I’ve used exactly 12 metres of 5cm wide ribbon. The skirt fabric is a loose poly woven fabric. 

I made up the skirt with large stitches to ensure it fitted me. Then I unpicked the side seams and added the ribbons applying the top layer first. I made sure that the ribbons overlapped by 1/2cm. When I first sewed the side seams the ribbons didn’t line up so I unpicked the ribbons at the side seams so they would match.

This was not a rushed job.

I didn’t want to wreck it because it’s so beautiful to assemble.
I really enjoyed planning and making the skirt ribbon layers. So I decided to make a dark colourway version for evening events. PS, we had a cold snap last night hence the boots!

The base of both skirts were remnant fabrics and invisible zips from my stash. The ribbons are what I could get from my local Spotlight store. 

I feel confident enough to make this again – for someone in the family.
These skirts were where I drew a line in the sand to put down the fabric and start working on my studies that I have to finish by September. Sewing something at the end of 3 assessments will be my incentive to get back to sewing. I’ll still finish SIL’s coat next week but that’s business that I promised to finish.

Meet Laura Nash

Laura Nash is the designer behind Sew Chic Patterns. Remember Fifth Avenue? Well Beatrice is in the pipeline. No occasion to wear Beatrice to as yet, but I’ll find one.

Meet* Laura

What do you love about sewing?
Good question! I love sewing for the creativity it provides. It gives all of us the ability to combine color, style, and silhouette in a way that is flattering. I also love sewing because it’s a technical skill.

Sewing is both a science and an art, so it seems to me that everyone can enjoy sewing at some level.

Do you come from a long line of sewers/pattern drafters/crafters?
I have a cousin that is a professional artist, so does that count? My grandmother and mother both sewed but did not enjoy it at the same level that I do. I think they both sewed out of necessity, not for the enjoyment of it. I have an aunt that still sews, but for the most part my extended family isn’t heavily into the arts.

What does a work day look like for you?
The day always starts by responding to email and processing orders. The middle of the day is spent on whatever need has the highest priority or the shortest deadline. It could be updating the website, making progress on a new or established design, printing more stock, preparing or planning for an event or class, ordering or sourcing supplies, going on a photo shoot, checking a vendors work…the list is long! At the end of the usual work day I make a trip to the post office to mail the orders. It’s a chance for me to get out and see the sky. Then back to work until bedtime. Nights and weekends I work on the extras like blogging and mailing list updates.

How long have you wanted to start a pattern line?
It was the dull fashion of the 1990’s that set in motion a determination to go to college for apparel design with the thought that perhaps eventually I could start a pattern line. I was going to ensure that at least I would never again be the prisoner of dull fashion again!

How did you choose your pattern company name?
The first 3 patterns were originally issued under the name of “Nostalgic Pattern Co.” I chose the name because of the historic nature of my aesthetic. My family warned me it was a bad name, but I didn’t believe them. After a year or so, I hired a friend to create a new logo, but first I had to come with a new name. I knew that I wanted the word “sew” in it. Wanting to help, my friend sent me a brainstorm list of about 20 name combinations and Sew Chic was at the top. I was worried that “Chic” would give me trouble knowing that many people wouldn’t know how to say it or spell it, but I liked it enough to start working on a logo idea right away. The next day I sent her the graphic and asked her opinion of it. She said it was perfect!
Because the project was over as quick as it started, she never charge me for it.

What inspires you?
Shape, form, repetition, harmony, color, modesty, kindness, eloquence, honesty, character, quality, sharing, gratitude, light, cheerfulness.

Do you have a mentor?
I do try to watch and learn and glean wisdom from people where ever I go, whomever I interact with, and from the books that I read. I very much admire and love to study the works of the past fashion designers such as Madeline Vionnet. She shunned the label “designer” and always called herself a dressmaker. Highly inventive designers like Charles James and Cristóbal Balenciaga where masters of shape in the clothing arts. No one designs like that anymore.

What challenges have you had with your pattern line?
Most problems are logistical. It’s difficult to source quality vendors and raw materials. The internet helps, but networking is better.

Do you have a 5 year goal in mind?
Within 5 years I hope to have many patterns in every category of women’s wear. I also want to do patterns for men. Children’s wear is less of a priority because there are already many independent companies doing childrens clothing. I will continue to teach at sewing expos, attending 2 shows a year- fall and spring. I will also be teaching video classes.

What advice would you give others who are thinking of starting their own pattern line?
If there was one thing that would guarantee success, I would tell them to do their prep work and go to college! Having ideas and being able to sew and draw a little is not enough. This job is so much more, and to do this without an education is starting with a huge handicap. When I started school, I would have called myself an expert seamstress, but it would not have been enough. Besides discovering my talent for design, I learned so much more, and I’m still learning! I cannot even imagine starting any other way, and credit much of my success to the fact that I got an education first.

Laura Nash
Sew Chic Pattern Company
Mail:595 Dampier Dr.
Philomath OR 97370
Phone: 541-929-9000
Toll Free: 866-623-9052

*1. all opinions are the interviewee’s own.
2. this blog post is not sponsored and has been published for people to know the maker better, understand the ins and outs of pattern making biz from one person’s personal journey.
3. all images are copyright of their original owners and used with permission for the purposes of discussion and illustration